WASHINGTON – North Korea took yet another reckless step in late August when it fired, without warning, an intermediate-range missile over Japan. The international community had only begun to mobilize its response when Pyongyang further stoked tensions this month by conducting its sixth and largest nuclear test, which caused a magnitude 6.1 earthquake, and firing another missile over Japan.
These hostile actions have increased the risk to peace and stability in the region and therefore demand a clear and firm response from the international community. But, at this time, we lack strong and effective near-term policy options. Economic and diplomatic pressure takes time, but any attempt to use military force to destroy North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in haste would lead to a catastrophic conflict.